The Anti-Fan

What is an anti-fan? An Anti Fan is for one thing not a fan of tennis. An Anti Fan is for want of a better description a troll. An Anti-Fan are the ones who come out from under the bridge when the following people have won a tennis tournament:

· Roger Federer

· Rafael Nadal

· Novak Djokovic

· Juan Martin del Potro

· Andy Murray

· Serena Williams

· Venus Williams

· Kim Clijsters

· Justine Henin

· Maria Sharapova

· Caroline Wozniacki

· Victoria Azarenka, and

· Dinara Safina

· Jelena Jankovic

· Ana Ivanovic

Now you may be saying, but these are all top players, why would there be anti-fans when these players win tournaments. These are the big names in tennis. Well for starters the anti-fan will usually come out after a victory by any of the above players by stating a few things about the victory. These statements can cover a whole host of things but are usually along the following lines:

· Surface

· No top players faced

· Ugly game

· It was because so and so was not in the draw

· It was because so and so lost and so he/she did not have to face him/her

· It was a lower level event

· Schedule

· Injury

· Had no match play

I am sure that any of us reading the above excuses have at one time or another made these comments on message boards the world over. We may think we are contributing to the discussions but what we are really doing is becoming a virtual anti-fan. For each victory that we celebrate for our favourite tennis player we have to remember that some other fan somewhere is despairing over another loss. For every vamos, come on, adje, allez and fist pump that our faves celebrate, somewhere another fan is holding a towel, a flag or a piece of tissue while wiping away tears as their favourites suffer another defeat. As such, when we visit message boards sometimes to find commiserations or to celebrate with our virtual friends, we need to remember that there are those amongst us whose sole purpose in life is to come out and rain on the parade.

Today, 3 tennis professionals who have not won a title in quite awhile were successful in doing so. Rafael Nadal, won his 16th Masters Shield today by beating Fernando Verdasco. There are stories floating around the internet that have some folks saying well “Nadal did not beat a top 10 player”, well guess what, there was a top 10 player in the draw and Verdasco took him out in straight sets. As a matter of fact the victory by Verdasco over Djokovic was what you would call an old fashioned thumping. Today, Sam Stosur got a win over Vera Zvonreva in Charleston in a Premier event. This was Stosur’s second title. She served well, kept her focus and finished the match with 36 winners. Her opponent had 4. If you think there were a lot of unforced errors, think again. Vera had 8 while Stosur had 11. The first set was over in 18 minutes.

In Barcelona, Francesca Schiavone won over Roberta Vinci, the defending champion 1 and 1. I saw that match and it was a fantastic display of clay court tennis. Schiavone played well within herself and deserved to win that match. The anti-fans were all over the place just raining on the parades of both Stosur and Nadal. The claims being made by the anti-fans were that neither player beat any top players to win the title. Does not matter. A victory is a victory. If that is the case that we are going to put asterisks against the wins or losses of every player then we would be writing articles like this every day.

Last year some alluded to Roger Federer’s wins at the French Open and Wimbledon was purely due to Rafael Nadal’s injuries. Foolishness. By the same token Rafael Nadal’s wins over Federer could be attributed to all sorts of injuries of his opponents. When we attempt to justify our arguments by belittling the accomplishments of what we consider are not our favourite players we do a disservice to this game that we all claim to love so much. A victory over any opponent, no matter where he or she is ranked is a victory. Does Federer’s Roland Garros triumph less remarkable because he did not beat Rafael Nadal? Or is Serena’s Williams victory over Justine Henin at this year’s Australian Open not significant seeing as Justine was only playing her second tournament since her return from sabbatical? We have to start ignoring the anti-fans when they come out spewing this type of nonsense because at the end of the day, when our faves win, there will be anti-fan out there somewhere ready to pounce and say “well, he/she won because …”